The 2004 Dhow Awards

FEATURE FILMS

Golden Dhow
Maargam
Directed by Rajiv Vijay
India, 2003, 108 mins.

An understanding evolves between a daughter and her father as they undertake a journey together that takes them through the feudal paths of the father’s ancestral village in Kerala and his radical past as a Marxist, an armed revolutionary among indigenous communities living in remote areas and primitive conditions.

The pair’s trip turns into an inward journey of rediscovery, search into human and historical relationships, and an understanding of the dichotomies of the past and the paradoxes of the present. This journeying takes place in the backdrop of the contemporary realities of a globalizing, urban and developing society in Kerala, South India.

Silver Dhow
Sofreh Irani / Iranian Spread
Directed by Kianoosh Ayyari
Iran, 2002, 100 mins.
A counterfeit Thousand-Toman banknote travels from hand to hand, from the north to south of Iran. During the long travel of the banknote, all people, in spite of their obvious cultural, geographical and ethnic differences, show similar human reactions.

Special Mention
Madame Brouette
Directed by Moussa Sene Absa
Senegal, 2002, 104 mins.
Proud and independent, nicknamed Madam Brouette, survives by pushing her cart through the pathways of the market in Sandaga. She is divorced and shares her life with her daughter Ndeye and her friend Ndaxte. Ndaxte has also escaped from a violent marriage. The film follows their life and dreams.

Special Mention
Kabala
Directed by Assane Kouyate
France, 2002, 112 mins.

Struck by drought, he sacred well of the ancestors in a small village called Kabala, is drying up and the inhabitants lives are in danger. Hamalla knows of a technique to revitalize the well but the elders won’t allow anything to disturb the well’s sanctity. Matters become more complicated for Hamalla when his fiancé becomes betrothed to another. Helped by the magic powers of his mother and the knowledge of modern techniques, Hamalla must confront the Kabala inhabitants once and for all.

SHORT FILMS

Golden Dhow
Senter / Center
Directed by Dean Bloomberg
South Africa, 2002, 7 mins
A film from the new South Africa as it comes of age, Senter / Center, deals with the experiences of displacement of the traditional ‘havest’ by the new democratic order in South Africa.

Silver Dhow
Mozart: The Music of the Violin
Directed by Micky Madoda
South Africa, 2004, 28 mins
The story is told through the eyes of Vukani, a 12-year-old virtuoso, who finds himself trapped between his mother’s endless persistence for him to play his instrument and the taunts of his township youths. They believe that Vukani thinks he is superior because of his talent and want to take his violin from him.

Mozart is the metaphor for a country that is still grappling with its identity even ten years after freedom. It is the story of the new black middle class trying to redefine itself in the ever-changing terrain of belonging, identification and cultural shifts.

Special Mention
Play
Directed by Jeff Waker
Uganda, 2003, 22 mins
Shot in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, Special Mention incorporates digital collage techniques to speak of themes of old and new colonialism.

Special Mention
Source d’Historie / Source of History
Directed by Adama Roamba
Burkina Faso, 2003, 22 mins.
Three 12-year-old buddies live quietly in a small village. During this time, the negotiations between the government and rebels fail. The same day, their village is taken for a target and their lives are changed forever.

DOCUMENTARY

Golden Dhow
Conakry Kas / The People of Conakry
Directed by Manthia Diawara
Guinea/France/USA, 2004, 81 mins.
In 1958, soon after Guinea”s independence from France, a cultural policy was established to encourage theater, ballet and music based on traditional themes. The emergence of this modern Guinean culture attracted people like Julian Bond Fannie, Lou Hammer, John Lewis and Harry Belafonte. In 2003, the director visited Conakry with his friend Danny Glover to see what had happened to the Guinean cultural revolution and how Guinean people arecoping with globalisation today. The film also depicts the city of Conakry and the reality of being Guinean in modern times from the point of view of those named as urban heroes.

Silver Dhow
Final Solution
Directed by Rakesh Sharma
India, 2004, 228 mins.
Set in Gujarat during February and March of 2002 to July 2003,  Final Solution examines the consequences of Hindu-Muslim polarization in the state. The first part of the documentary deals with the genocidal violence against Muslims and its immediate bloody aftermath and probes the patterns of pre-planned violence by right-wing Hindu cadres, which many claim was state-supported.

The second part of the documentary reconstructs, through eyewitness accounts, the attack on Gulbarg (Ahmedabad) and acts of barbaric violence against Muslim women at Eral and Deola/Kalol (Panchmahals) even as the chief Minister of State, Narendra Modi, traverses the state on his Gaurav Yatra (journey of pride).

Special Mention
Being Pavarotti
Odette Geldenhuys
South Africa, 2004, 50 mins
Teenager Elton tirelessly sings, trains and rehearses to one day fulfill his dreams of becoming a celebrated opera singer. Until then, he must face the daily frustrations and harassment that comes with living in poverty on the edge of a major South African tourist attraction- the whale migration.

Special Mention
A Certain Liberation
Yasmine Kabir
Bangladesh, 2003, 37 mins
Guradasi Mondol lost her fragile grip on sanity in 1971 as she watched her entire family being massacred by the Razakars, collaborators of the occupying forces, during the Liberation war of Bangladesh. Raped and imprisoned by the commander of the Razakars, she was freed months later by the Bangladesh Liberation Army.

Thirty years on, she roams the streets of Kopilmoni, a small town in Bangladesh, inquest of all that she has lost; scorning authority, snatching at will from strangers and invading space normally reserved for men in this strict Islamic society. Through her madness Gurudasi has found a strategy for survival and through her indomitable presence, has kept alive the memories and spirit of the Liberation war.

EAST AFRICA PRODUCTION

Golden Dhow
Full of Energy
Directed by Stephen Nyeko, Uganda

Silver Dhow
Gardiens de la Memoire / Keeper of Memory
Directed by Eric Kabera, Rwanda

Special Mention
Wakiwa
Directed by Chande Omar Chande, Tanzania.

SIGNIS AWARD

Winner
Madame Brouette
Directed by Moussa Sene Absa, Senegal

Special Mention
Gardiens de la Memoire / Keeper of Memory

About the Director

Kimani wa Wanjiru

Kimani wa Wanjiru is a Kenyan journalist, who studied at the University in Kenya and Uganda and had a brief stint at Makerere University. For the last three years Kimani has acted as the correspondent of the East African Standard covering the arts and culture and is currently the Projects Director of Kymscorpio Media Network (Kymsnet), a local print and electronic media agency that has specialized in culture and the arts. Kimani is also the local correspondent of Africultures and the RICAFE (African Cultural Information Network) and belongs to the editorial team of a Pan African music and entertainment magazine called PHAT!

E-mail: kwawanjiru at yahoo.com